tv Capital News Today CSPAN December 3, 2009 11:00pm-2:00am EST
as secretary clinton said because this is the most complex national security issue that faces us. it is also, in my belief, directly tied to work vital national interest. every military leader in the chain of command as well as those of joint chiefs was given a voice in every single individual used it. we now have before as a strategy that more appropriately matches us to the situation on the ground in afghanistan and resources -- resources matched more appropriately to the strategy particularly with regard to reverse the insurgencies in a manner as quickly as possible focusing immediately on 2010. and given the stakes in
afghanistan for our own national security owls well as out to the eckert that of our partners around the world i believe the time we took was well worth it. secretary clinton has already balked you through the policy issues. the larger policy issues in question and i won't repeat them here but from a purely military perspective, i believe the new approach doesn't three critical things. first by providing more discreet objectives that offers better guidance to commanders on the ground about how to in place of their forces. they will still work to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al qaeda and prevent afghanistan from becoming a safe haven. they will still strive to protect the afghan people who remain the center of gravity in afghanistan. it will still pursue major elements of the counter insurgency campaign desired and designed by general mcchrystal that involves some measure of
active counter in terrorism operations. but now, they will tailor this campaign and those operations by focusing on key population areas the increasing pressure on al qaeda as leadership and by more effectively working to degrade the taliban influence. and by streamlining and accelerating the growth of competent afghan national security forces. at its core, our strategy is about providing breathing space the afghans to secure their own people and stabilize their own country. it's about partnering and mentoring just as much if not more so the than it is about fighting in combat. where once we believe finishing the job meant to a large degree to do with ourselves we now know it cannot truly or permanently be done by anyone other than the afghans themselves. fully one-third of the united states troops in theater or partnered with afghan forces as we speak and i expect that
number to rapidly grow over the next year. secondly but not insignificantly, this new strategy give commanders on the ground the resources and the support they need to reverse the momentum of the taliban insurgency. it to accomplish these more limited objectives. i said it before and i believe it still today this region is the epicenter of global islamic extremism, and i acknowledge that there are federated terrorists globally. but this is the epicenter. it is the place from which we were attacked on 9/11 as has been discussed and should we be hit again it's the place from which i am convinced the planning, training, financing and leadership will emanate. al qaeda may in fact be the architect of such an attack with the taliban will be the bricklayer. though hardly a uniform body taliban groups have grown bolder and more sophisticated. i saw that just a few months ago
when the taliban forces attacked outpost using what i would call almost conventional small unit tactics. their fighters are better organized and better equipped than they were just one years ago. that has been the case the last three years. in fact coalition forces experienced a record level of violence over the last year, up 60% in 2009 when compared to 2008. and through brittle intimidation the taliban has established a shadow government across the country, could worsen the reluctant support of many locals and challenging the authority of elected leaders and state institutions. indeed we believe the insurgency has achieved a dominant influence in 11 of afghanistan's 34 district provinces. to say there's no serious threat of afghanistan following once again into the taliban hands ignores the audacity of even the insurgencies most public
statements. and to argue that should they have that power the taliban but not at least tolerate the presence of al qaeda on afghan soil is to ignore both the recent past and the evidence we see every day of collusion between the factions on both sides of the afpac border. the cost of failure that is great. that is why the president's decision for the extended surge into afghanistan of 30,000 additional troops is so important. it gets the most u.s. forces into the fight as quickly as possible. giving general mcchrystal everything he needs in 2010 to gain the initiative. it validates our adherence to the counter insurgency approach and it offers the troops in afghanistan the best possible chance to set the security conditions for the afghan people to see the commitment to their future for the karzai government to know our strong desire to see his promised reforms and for the
afghan taliban to understand they will not and cannot take back afghanistan. and finally, for those beyond afghanistan who support the taliban or would see the return of al qaeda to realize the futility of their pursuit. i should add these reinforcements come on top of the 21,000 troops the president order shortly after taking office. the troops which have already made a huge difference in the southern helmand valley. as i testified before, mr. chairman, no amount of trucks and no amount of time will ever be enough to leave success in such a fight. the simply must be accompanied by good governance and healthy public administration. this, not trade numbers come is the area of my greatest concern. like everyone else i look forward to working with the karzai government, but we us to support of the interagency and the international communities as well. and that brings me to my final
point. the president's new strategy still recognizes the criticality of a broad based approach to the regional problems. it is not a few afghanistan and isolation any more than he views the ties between al qaeda and the taliban has superficial. he has called for a stronger and more productive cooperation with neighboring pakistan which is likewise under the threat from radical elements and whose support remains vital to portability to eliminate those safe havens. he has pledged, and we in the military welcome renewed emphasis on securing more severely and expertise to the effort. more contributions by other nato nations and a realistic plan to transition responsibilities to the afghans. his is a more balanced flexible and more achievable strategy that we've had in the past one based on pragmatism and real possibilities. and speaking for the 2.2 million men and women who must execute this and who with their families
have borne the brunt of the stress and strain of eight years of constant combat and support the president's decision and appreciate the leadership. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, admiral and each of you for comprehensive statements. they are very helpful. let me focus and if i can secretary gates, you particularly talked about the nexus with respect to the al qaeda taliban relationship and why afghanistan is important in that. last night i had dinner with a group of congressmen a number of whom either don't see the nexus or not accepted or somehow feel we can get by notwithstanding whatever nexus there is. that it doesn't rise to the level in a sense building on senator lugar's opening statement where he talked about the question of being fixated on
al qaeda and committing to certain number of troops that may be out of proportion to the level of threat. you have both come secretary clinton and you, psychiatry gates, addressed this in your statements with there is a way in which i think somehow in the statements people will always hear the exclamation of a and i would like to ask you if we have members of this committee who disagree with the decision and feel that somehow that nexus is not sufficient that it brings this national security threat to a level that says you've got to have 100,000 troops it's a drop you know the arguments. what i want you to do now if you can is put the exclamation of it. how do you convey through your experience and the stakes in your trying to protect what is really at stake here so people understand why the president, who clearly at west point since
he doesn't take this decision lightly and we understand that. nobody would to make this kind of commitment. what is it in the simplest of terms that compels you to say al qaeda and pakistan remains a factor to require 100,000 troops in afghanistan? >> first of all i consider the situation today in this respect more dangerous than it was a year or 18 months ago. because it is clear just on the pakistani side of the border that al qaeda is deeply involved with the taliban pakistan, the pakistan taliban planning attacks against the government and people and attempting to destabilize that the government
and the al qaeda provides them with technical information, provides them with operational information and support. al qaeda also is supportive of the terrorist group that is responsible for the bombings and mumbai and al qaeda is providing them with targeting information and helping them in their plodding in india clearly with the idea of provoking conflict between india and pakistan that would destabilize pakistan. they also are very much involved with the afghan taliban. and so they are supporting all of these different groups in ways that are destabilizing not just for afghanistan but for the entire region and al qaeda is at the heart of it and whether or
not the terrorists are homegrown when we trace their roots they almost all in up back in this border area of afghanistan and pakistan whether they are from the united states or somalia or the united kingdom or elsewhere. and so what we see is al qaeda despite their being under pressure and despite their limited numbers and despite the fact that there are few of them in afghanistan right now, that they are taking advantage of the situation in the region to play a very destabilizing and dangerous role. what they have learned as i suggested in my remarks is that in on governed space you have the opportunity to recover, reconstitute and research yourself which is exactly what taliban did in pakistan over a period of about three years, and now in the position where with their momentum they are challenging successfully to this point significant numbers of
modern armies. so the point is that if parts of southern and eastern afghanistan once again come under the control of the taliban that would be space in which al qaeda could reconstitute itself very much as the taliban date and pakistan just in recent years and then expand their operations and capabilities to launch attacks against europe and the united states and all over the world. >> mr. chairman, i would just add to what secretary gates said, the following three points. first, we have increasingly come to see these organizations not as a separate independent operators that occasionally cooperate with one another, but as part of a syndicated
terrorism. the level of operational cooperation, training, equipping, financing has grown exponentially. and at the head of the table like an old mafia kind of diagram six al qaeda and al qaeda still has much greater access to the financing debt comes from the gulf and is able then to support a lot of the taliban partners and their various undertakings. al qaeda's experiencing recruiting ford and fighters has aided and abetted certain of the taliban operations inside pakistan and afghanistan. the pakistani military told us they've picked up foreign fighters in south waziristan. and the continuing training of new recruits, people that then go off to yemen or somalia or indeed denver has a global and
matched. secondly, as admiral mullen said, the planning and the sort of brains of the operation with respect to the plots against us remains al qaeda but increasingly the taliban are the bricklayers. the recent arrests here in our own country trace back to pakistan and trace back certainly in the case of isasi to an al qaeda originated camp and training program. but finally, and perhaps most chilling the fact that pakistan is a nuclear power raises the stakes enormously. there is no doubt in any of our mind that al qaeda seeks nuclear material, seeks access to
nuclear weapons. the challenges within the pakistani military that admiral mullen can dress because he has done work on building a better relationship. we walked away from the pakistan military. we were sanctioned. we couldn't cooperate with them, and there is a gap between the leadership of the pakistani military that they were trained in or connected with, the american or the british or the australian military and sort of the younger officers. and there is a real struggle going on for influence, for the kind of advantage that would give the syndicated terror just horrific challenge to all of us. but i think if admiral mullen could have the time to add to that. >> mr. chairman, i certainly
agree with the nexus and i've watched over the last year or two that these groups are coming together, and the secretary gates talked about the linkage between the let and al qaeda so it's not local anymore. and that is and a sample of the collaboration that has gone on with all of these units. i was struck as i assured you were in mumbai that a terrorist outfit could literally generate that kind of attack and then bring the two nation states closer to conflict. that is not an achievement lost on anyone that observed that and those kind of plots continue. the ability to destabilize pakistan, seeking that nuclear -- those nuclear materials and weapons. it is extraordinarily dangerous
and i recognize both the price we pay and the treasurer and the cost that it costs of our government specifically these and my own view of this is that without addressing this the potential risk of something recurring on the order of what happened before is out there and the enormous costs that would be associated with that. so this decision and investment now is absolutely critical and the terrorist central cells that are there in this border, that is this is the headquarters. there are other franchise sells and places like yemen and somalia. but this is the most dangerous one. they all need to be addressed. this has a significantly more capable center of gravity if you will because of all of the organizations that are
associated with al qaeda in this border area. >> i appreciate that. could i add one sentence in terms of underscoring the central role of al qaeda in the afghan pakistan border area. the reality is al qaeda and the islamic monrad, al qaeda in the arab peninsula place high value on their affiliation with al qaeda in the border area and there is ample intelligence showing other terrorist groups that basically are in the application process. to become affiliates of al qaeda so the central pathology and the central role of these people is still there. >> let me just say that i think it is going to be zearing important in the next day's to really build this linkage so that people have a real understanding of the importance and that obviously biggs the question and i don't want to abuse the time so i will ask it now and i am sure colleagues
will follow up on it but it clearly begs the question of pakistan's cooperation and what we can expect in these months and i'm sure colleagues will follow up on that. i did want to mention congratulations on chelsea's engagement. i just finished playing the wedding planner for my younger daughter and my advice is hire a professional. >> are you available? [laughter] >> i am distinctly not a professional. [laughter] senator lugar. >> thank you, mr. chairman. but the follow-up on your questions as well as the responses of the witnesses. secretary clinton, in your testimony, on page to use it we will work with the afghan and pakistani governments to eliminate safe havens for those plotting attacks against us and our interest. as the third point we will develop a long-term sustainable relationship with afghanistan and pakistan so we do not repeat
the mistakes of the past. each of you and your testimony in response to the thought that al qaeda may be diffuse as well as other terrorist groups said of course, but this border area significantly is different. admiral mullen, you pointed out again. and significantly different as a base for the greatest threat and satori gates, you mentioned how the mog red and where the sort of feed into the spiritual and intellectual what ever you want to call it leadership that is coming out of the situation. now, the problem i want to ask each of you to express is we have heard you say we believe that a strong and stable space pakistan must be a key partner for the united states and allied
against violent extremism. of course that is correct. but a number of historians come before this committee and previous discussions of this and they made comments such as this fairly or not, that the al qaeda and afghanistan have sometimes been useful for pakistan. to at least influence if not control things over in afghanistan so that india would not have an influence when the indians were here visiting with you recently. they certainly have expressed some feeling of exclusion that came not only from pakistan but pakistan's use of the taliban in afghanistan. now recently the three of you have been inactive diplomacy in pakistan and collectively with the president, vice president and others have convinced pakistani military that they ought to do something about pakistani taliban in swat valley
and elsewhere and may be that is the change in their viewpoint. but we still get back to the point that we are talking about this border area, and it has two countries. on one side we are going to place additional troops dealing with these 11 provinces in afghanistan. what is not clear is precisely what is going to happen in pakistan in this alliance of the two of us, the u.s. and pakistan in this case. and you would say well for good reason don't be naive, this is a very difficult situation. as you said, secretary clinton, we have a long way to go. this is a growing relationship. you've been in the countryside visiting places the president has now chosen to visit as he has hobbled there in the capitol. a very tough business. but i suppose asking today, and
i agree with the chairman of the concentration on the number of troops, the number of months of what ever is going to happen in the urban areas of the 11 provinces, this is important. but what is crucial is whether any of the three of you collectively or the president, vice president, general jones, anyone else in your team is going to be able to deal with the leadership in pakistan whether it be the civil military or intelligence leadership. so there is a matter of fact they are prepared to face what we are all seeing as the problem. the border area al qaeda, osama bin laden. no one wants to talk about osama bin laden. isn't this a major target? is and is a reason why continued warfare is necessary? if it is so we'd better talk about it directly to the pakistanis. and this being a public hearing
the pakistanis are hearing that loud and clear. and they are guinn to have to respond. it is all well and good for us to say they've got to be stable for the long run about nuclear weapons and of course they need to be stable. the understand that. the offer and present us talking about the nuclear weapons quite apart from the thought we might protect them and the nuclear weapons in our own interest. what i would like to ask any of the three of you is progressing from the president's plan that's not the end of the story. whether this plan works or not depends upon maybe personal diplomacy and ability of leadership in pakistan to come to very different and significant conclusions from the past. in terms of their welfare. how rapidly can this occurred in 12 months come 18 months, two years? in other words, it better occur sooner or we are going to have a
shifting of people back and forth across the border even as we have military success as we will in the provinces of afghanistan. would anyone want to respond? >> senator lugar, i will start and i'm sure my colleagues would want to add to what i say. i share your sense of urgency, your analysis of the challenges we confront, but i think we have to look very clear idea where we are starting from. when i went through my round of confirmation hearings and then sort of the introductory hearings in the house and that was back in january i sit at the time that it was hard to believe that the pakistani government was not going after the direct threats that it faced. and that caused a big outcry in pakistan. but i think it is significant we
are sitting here today having seen two major military operations after the failure of some kind of accommodation and unsuccessful peace agreements were finally recognized. we are now making the case to our counterparts in pakistan both in the civilian and military leadership that the efforts they have made against ttp primarily in a swat and now waziristan and the tribal court are necessary that far from sufficient efforts to protect themselves. that this syndicate, this network of terrorism. that whatever the utility of any of these groups might have been in the past they have more often to a form that poses a threat to the pakistani government. and this is an argument that i
think takes time to make. it is certainly an argument each of us plus others have carried repeatedly and will continue to do so. but there is a great gulf of mistrust. secretary gates can speak very eloquently since he was involved in the 1980's and working with the pakistani government to put together the mujahideen that led to the overthrow of the soviet union but which the pakistanis feel we then walked away from helping them cope with, and they accommodated themselves. they went into a survival mode and maybe even solve some certain advantages flowing from those relationships and advantages that they were making lemonade out of lemons in order to obtain. i think your analysis is right, but we are dealing with a sovereign country that has a clear idea of who they think their overall enemy is, namely
india. but who have slowly been convinced because of what's happened in sight of their own territory that they have to take action. and i think that will continue to lead to positive steps. >> thank you. senator feingold. >> thank you so much, mr. chairman. it's an honor to have this distinguished panel of witnesses today. i am pleased the president said a goal for when we will begin reducing troop levels. however, i am disappointed he has decided to escalate the military presence and didn't get a goal or time frame trauma when our massive military operation in afghanistan will actually end. i do not support the decision to prolong and expand a risky and unsustainable strategy in the region and while i support ongoing civilian engagement in afghanistan and counterterrorism efforts in the region i do not believe more american lives should be risked for war that no longer serves our most pressing
national security interests. we must promptly transition to a sustainable targeted counterterrorism strategy for the region and the world, one that is as agile and global as the enemy that we confront al qaeda. rather than focusing so much attention and resources on afghanistan i think we need a comprehensive global strategy that decides grievance. we need to improve capabilities come build partnerships with a legitimate local partners and if appropriate utilize targeted tactical operations. secateurs rebates coming or do we must continue to pour resources into afghanistan or it would be perceived as a victory by al qaeda. and i would say i am somewhat less concerned about the perception of the victory and more focused on the of trouble defeating a al qaeda for real. i think the best way to do that is to recognize that we are dealing as you have recognized
with a global enemy, with a very limited presence in afghanistan. al qaeda as stated objective is to bankrupt the united states. so i guess my first question is do you acknowledge investing over $100 billion in just one country in one year alone risks degreasing long-term ability to relentlessly pursuing al qaeda around the globe? >> dr. gates? >> if the first of all just for clarity the costs that we are looking at for fiscal year 2010 for both the war and iraq and afghanistan will be about $20 billion less than we spent in 2008, and i realize that is small comfort given how much we spent in 2008. but i think -- like a back to the chairman's -- to the
chairman's comment. what are the consequences? what are the costs? the taliban being able to control space in afghanistan and on the pakistani side of the border that gives a al qaeda the ability to reconstitute itself and perhaps provoke war between india and pakistan or get access to nuclear weapons from pakistan. >> by understand that is your view of not doing something to eat my question is once we spent this 100 billion what are the consequences for the resources and all the other places that we are talking about? there's another side to this. >> i think we have frankly adequately resource to the effort to go after terrorism on a global basis. we certainly have had successful operations some of which have been in the newspapers. and we are devoting a lot of
effort and have received resources from the congress to the kind of partnering that you have described in terms of trying to root out these terrorist organizations. i will tell you coming back to government after having been gone 13 for 14 years, the improvement and quality of intelligence in terms of being able to go after terrorists and in the depth of our intelligence liaison relationships with other countries, it is a world apart from what i saw in 1993 when i retired. so we have made i think good investments and these investments continue. in terms of going after the global threat. but it's important to recognize where the home next as and to deal with that as well. >> i appreciate that and i question whether we are resources other critical places on the world that i spend a fair amount of time studying. i wont give in to the statistics but it's something that we can discuss in the future.
admiral mullen discussed the mcchrystal even in a strategy would leave a large swaths of afghanistan outside of government control, indeed, as we increased levels of troops in the south the attacks have grown markedly in the north. what are the chances increase in troop levels will only push militants into different regions? >> the principal threat is i think will continue to remain in the south and in the east. we recognize in the north over the last year or so that it has gotten more difficult but general mcchrystal is confident that the spread if you will there and also some degree to the west although not sycophant at this point can be handled by our nato forces, and in fact the nato forces that we have expectations receive an additional forces here
commitments in the near future to address that. his main effort is in the south. that really is where he will focus most of his troops supported by his efforts in the east and then that really gets to the most critical areas from the pashtu standpoint, border standpoint and the intent of this strategy and his certainly support is not to do counter insurgency all over the country. we do not see it growing to the point at this point where it would turn into something equal to the kind of threat we have in the south and east of north. >> several witnesses testified before this committee that the majority of people currently fighting in afghanistan do not have international terrorist agenda but rather tend to coalesce against what is perceived as an outsider. one station chief in islamabad despite its recent 40,000 additional troops to afghanistan
it would only produce $40 additional militants. actually i would like both of you and secretary clinton to answer this. is there a danger the current strategy is provoked greater militancy and is there made it harder to isolate members of al qaeda? >> general mcchrystal said not too long after he got there and this gets to the whole occupation negative u. we know we are not an occupying force. obviously our actions need to support our work in tandem with respect to that which is very clear. but the afghans that we engage with are much more concerned with what we do with our forces as opposed to how many they are. mcchrystal shifted the focus to secure them. population security for them. that is what they seek more than anything else right now. so we definitely while i recognize that particular because of history we haven't seen that extensively nor have we seen an extensive generation of additional militants perce
although that is a concern. and we are looking to get as many of them off the battlefield in this new strategy as possible as well with respect by reconciliation reintegration etc. but that has got to happen through better security. >> madame secretary? >> i would just add three points. one, general mcchrystal significantly changed the way that our military forces and nato isaf conduct themselves with respect to civilian population. he significantly tightened the rules for air support for any kind of combat in order to limit the number of civilian casualties, and he also issued orders concerning nighttime raids particularly with the use of dogs. when i was in afghanistan i had a number of people tell us that made a huge difference. secondly, in every reliable
research that i have access to, there is no appetite for the return of the taliban whatsoever. what we have seen an increase in over the last several years has been more hedging, that people were understandably nervous about what is the outcome and who was site should i and my family in the pond. but there is no appetite for the return of the taliban. and we do not see what is a legitimate concern to keep in mind. the potential reaction that would lead to increased insurgents. we also know that a lot of the people who are in the taliban do not share the overall goal which is more to. the mullah omar core group that heads the afghan taliban and is closely allied with al qaeda has
morphed into not just in nationalistic islamist group, but now kind of buying into this caliphate idea. and therefore a lot of the people who have been conscripted into effect into service on behalf of the taliban have no real allegiance support of the challenge here and it's something that we are working on with president karzai obviously we have a whole team in bigot in the nato isaf with retired british general, general lamb, who played a major role in iraq, the sons of iraq and the awakening is to begin to do a much more thoughtful job to separate out. the taliban are a homegrown entity. the taliban, the students rose up in part against the oppression of the soviet regime, keels of the war lord your and
desire to have an islamist state that imposed sharia order etc. so, we know that there is an opportunity for those who renounce the al qaeda violence etc. to be reintegrated and play a part in the political system. we might not like their political agenda. i will put that on the table. senator boxer and senator shaheen and i would not be enthusiastic about a non-violent peaceful taliban political movement that legitimately played within the democracy. but, as you know, there is that possibly that i think we have to recognize if they do move into reintegration. >> my time is up. i just want to see madame secretary, thank you for the thoughtful answer. i'm sure you would agree apparel we have minimized the potential feelings of the afghan people for an extended presence. i know you're aware of that that be so careful not to minimize the importance of that. i thank dagher.
-- before, senator feingold. senator corker. >> thank you. thank each of you for your service. i respect the positions each of you hold and realize that there are no easy answers. i know this has been very complex and i know its a very agonizing to come before panels like this when you're part of the administration. i do hope and i see the chairman has left, but since this is so pakistan-centric i hope that in mac patterson, i know she's here, will be made available and we will have hearings with her and others involved in pakistan, mabey petraeus. my understanding is we are trying to set up mcchrystal and general eikenberry does next week; is that correct? >> senator corker, that is correct. and we've would certainly make any witness available. we might want to suggest that you plan a short public hearing and a longer classified hearing. i think that would be very useful to get at a lot of the
issues that both senator lugar and chairman and carey have raised. >> think if we are going to have a classified briefing would be great a station chief in pakistan would be very brief to the cuban officials that they could all make this decision. we will likely set a public hearing with ann patterson who is an outstanding ambassador and knows what is happening in that area. you can't help but be in afghanistan and know that part of what is driving what we are doing there is just the inertia. the fact that we are there the we are loath to lead before success with, whatever that means. and the fact we are trying to prove to pakistan and afghanistan citizens that we are real friends. my point is that much of what you all sit is no doubt true but there is an underlying current that creates and inertia i think for us to be there and i know a
lot of comments have been made about the fact that it's very clear what we are doing now, and we need we were not clear in the past and there's no doubt we were not clear in the past. i would say that i still have average intelligence, and i think it is still pretty unclear to me what we are doing. i know last march the president announced a more narrow mission supposedly. it was evident to me. it was anything but a more narrow admission and i know september 22nd general drums came in and showed the metrics being used to measure what's happening. and i know the chairman was present. it was very evident, and i don't need to be pejorative but we were nation-building in afghanistan the metrics. very much they lay out in nation-building in afghanistan. richard holbrooke has a whole team of people that he would call rebuilding a nation because he certainly goes back in history to the times when afghanistan was more of a functioning country. but my point is there is no
question the metrics laid out in september were nation-building. i met with secure ann gates greatly respect the pentagon and we talked about a partial nation-building and now we talk about coming home in 18 months with our troops. i realize civilians will stay after that point in time and i realize the coming home part based on the testimony yesterday was just a throwaway comment to sort of a people concerned about the buildup. so to me it's really not clear, and i'd think that the american people who are going to be the civilian side in particular is going to be for decades the whole budget of afghanistan today is about $890 million, the 400,000 security troops we are talking about art about 10 billion a year and i'm wondering, madam secretary, whether it would make sense to really lay out clearly what all
of this means from the standpoint of support for the next several decades the amount of civilian activity and just from the standpoint of security what we've really anticipate doing overtime. i know that in 18 months to build up security why is this going to be less than 400,000 but i know over time at least in less it is changed again that has been the goal between afghan police and army. so i would say to you that it's been a very unclear and it's been like a sign waved over the last nine months as to what we are actually doing there. i love some edification. >> senator corker on will do my best and perhaps i can bring reinforcement on either side of me. first, let me just provide the context that skycam. in our view looking back we never adequately resource the mission of afghanistan.
the committee's work and reports certainly did a lot of credence and support to that view. there were basically 30,000 troops for a number of years with an additional 30, 40,000 nato troops, and we didn't really have the kind of commitment that we were meeting meeting. we also transferred a lot of the assets that should have been used to support the troops we had in afghanistan to iraq. that is just a fact as well. so when the president took office there were backed up requests for additional troops that had been in the pipeline. and i personally know several of the people who were commanders on the ground in afghanistan coming back to 01 there were always additional troup requests, which because the move toward iraq were never given
what was requested. so that's part of the history. there was a pending troup request that the bush administration and secretary gates can speak to this looked on on favorably as they were going out the door 17,000 troops. and then the request the left for president obama of 21,000. and so, right out of that the president was given what is a 38,000 troup request, and he orders a very quick study that bruce reindell, very experienced intelligence professional headed up along with richard holbrooke and michelle flournoy from the defense department. and as the president said when he made the announcement back in march we are going to go forward with these trips. they've been pending. there seems to be an argument for them. our goal is to disrupt,
dismantle and d.c. al qaeda we are changing commanders, something that is rare to do what we are going to look at this again as soon as the election is over because the election season in afghanistan was taking hold. that is exactly what we've done. unfortunately the election last of a very long time until things to chairman kerry we finally began to bring it to a conclusion. so i don't blame you and i don't blame anybody for wondering where we are because of the history that we inherited and our were effort to frankly makes sense and rationalize what was happening and to put it into an integrated civilian military strategy. one of the first things president karzai said to me when i saw him in kabul was i confused. and he talked about how easily understood what we were supposed to be doing from 01 to 05. was the war on terror, and then all of a sudden i started hearing people in the government
say we didn't need to kill bin laden and mullah omar and i didn't know what that meant. so there has been some confusion which frankly this administration has been trying to sort through and we think we have got it as right as you can get and where we started from. there is no doubt that putting these additional troops in our mind is necessary to reverse the momentum of the taliban to demonstrate clearly to both the afghans and pakistanis that we are serious about the resolve to work with them to try to stabilize the two countries, improve security situation and that we know it cannot just be a military undertaking that's why we are emphasizing the civilian side of it. so, ultimately, senator, we are going to have to maintain stability in support for afghanistan and pakistan going forward. we think that's in our national interest to do so. but i just want to make one
final point. the july 20 bakshish date is the date on which we began to transfer authority and responsibility to afghan security forces. now, what we've tried to demonstrate is the pace, the size of the drawdown is going to be determined in a responsible manner based on the conditions that exist at the time and if things are going well a larger number of forces will be transitioned out and the afghans will be expected to take on greater responsibility. so it is not contradictory to set a date certain to condition on the reality that we confront at that time. >> let me just say a word. i know time to move on the first of all one of my concerns coming out of the decisions in march was that it was clear they were interpreted as providing for
full-scale nation building and creating strong central government in afghanistan. >> as for the metrics. >> neither of which is achievable in any realistic time frame or sustainable given the costs and everything else. so i would describe in just a few sentences what i believe the strategy is today. with these decisions represent. it is to reverse the momentum of the taliban. it is to deny them control of territory in afghanistan. it is to degrade their military capabilities, and at the same time grow and strengthen the capabilities of the afghan national security forces so that they can manage the internal security of their own country because they are dealing with eckert capabilities on their side and degraded capabilities on the taliban site. this allows us to pull the bulk of combat troops out and return in terms that senator feingold
put it to more of a counterterrorism mission because we don't have to worry about the security situation inside afghanistan. you cannot do pure counterterrorism unless you have a government or provincial and local government that create a hostile environment for the taliban and that allow us to gather the information and intelligence that we need to do the counter intelligence -- the counterterrorism. >> thank you very much. >> you stepped out for a second. >> i am happy to do that. >> we are going to have a second round. just planning to do that? >> if we have time we will try. we will see where we are. i would like to do a second round if we are able to but we have a time constraint. we will see what we can do. senator boxer? >> thank you, all of you for your dedicated service to the nation. we appreciate it. in 2001 every senator voted to
go against those who attacked us using afghanistan as the base. president bush in a lot of viewers turn away from afghanistan clearly toward a disastrous iraq war. many of us repeatedly urged the and to that war and refocus on afghanistan. here we are many years later and secure clinton is explaining the results of that neglect. so five months ago when our president asked for 21,000 additional troops from afghanistan, i supported that request. it wasn't easy for me, but i felt it was important to give the chance to refocus. we also included in that funding for the women who have borne the brunt of the taliban. the president said at that time he needed those 21,000 troops. this is just five months ago, to, quote, take the fight to the
taliban in the south and east and give greater capacity to partner and trained with afghan security forces. that is what he is saying again now. i agree with that mission. so, i voted. we sent 21,000 more troops and here's the thing. we are told since we send those troops that the situation has deteriorated. and i would like to put into the record an interview with general mcchrystal and which basically he said the taliban, the fight against the taliban has gone downhill and that was since the 21,000 troops were sent. so i would ask you why did the situation get worse in afghanistan after we sent 21,000 more troops and i guess i would start with secretary gates. >> welcome a first of all the full number of troops the president authorized did not actually ultimately her life in afghanistan until late in the
summer, early fall. the marines arrived in southern helmand in july, and in fact the reporting that we are getting is that things have begun to get better in southern helmand where the marines are. as part of it -- first of all i think it is when general mcchrystal did his assessment was at least as far as i'm concerned the first thorough going assessment in the field on how things were going since i became secretary of december 06. and i think what general mcchrystal found three that assessment and the traveling all over the country and looking at the situation was and as you cited the situation was serious and deteriorating. we got his report in late august and as you know we have had this
dialogue and effort inside the administration to determine what to do on the basis of that assessment. but fundamentally, where the troops have arrived this situation has stabilized and in some cases has gotten better. and with general mcchrystal basically said is to stabilize the other areas these additional forces are necessary, maybe admiral mullen would like to add. >> before he does, and i will of course turn to the admiral, i just want to put in the record a gao study that shows as we've added more troops the violence actually escalated. and this interview by general mcchrystal was at the very end of september. so admiral mullen, could you explain -- here is what i am getting at. i voted with reluctance because i believed more troops would help hour were situation. we added the troops and the violence got worse. now we are being told we should
add more troops. and i guess what i'm asking you is how can we now lead to the conclusion more troops would mean less violence when the opposite seems to have occurred? >> ma'am, general mcchrystal's assessment, and i agree with secretary defense, it really was the first thorough comprehensive assessment that i have seen from a commander. as we talked about under resource in this campaign for a long time for a good four or five years seen the insurgency just get worse particularly starting in 06 it's been evident we couldn't resources and get the troops because of commitment to iraq so it is where we found ourselves and i think the strategy the president laid out in march significant in many ways focused on the region, not just on afghanistan. afghanistan, pakistan, and india specifically. i argued and certainly it has
occurred many months ago that we need to have a national debate and discussion about this because i think that has been lacking because of our focus on what was the top priority for all of us as directed by president bush. so we are all learning as we go. >> i would like to follow-up as explaining this to this information. as i see it, and i know this is correct unless you disagree, that we have now 68,000 american troops on the ground. there's 3,623,182 troops, this 104,000, 241. there's roughly 94,000 afghan troops and we won't count the 93,000 afghan police. so we will leave that aside. that's 200,000 versus 22,000 taliban and 100 al qaeda. sallai concern is and this is why i interrupted, just to get your focus on this, it doesn't
seem to me to be a question of the numbers of troops. it's hard to say 200,000 versus 22,000 is that different than 230,000. it's the mission. and i guess what i'm trying to probe here is how are we going to change the mission from what president obama said when i gave him my vote for the 21,000 troops which seems to me the same mission he's talking about now. ..
which we weren't doing before. uyghur mentoring, training and now we are in the field with them planning, living at cedras so those are fundamental shifts to get at achieving the success that i think it's possible with these additional troops. >> i really appreciate it. that is the best argument i have heard but i still have tremendous doubts about the numbers. i just think what you are saying we ought to be doing with the members. the last question has to do with our forces who are incredibly stressed. this is the last question. divorce is up, suicide is up,
psychological wounds, so my quick question i have been meaning to ask is, we know some of our men and women are going back six and seven times. are you confident secretary gates that we are no longer deploying service members who are currently struggling with significant mental health problems from their prior tours? >> i think the only thing i can say in response to that is we are making every effort not to do that. we have put in place some very intensive screening process is. we have hired an enormous number of mental health care providers. we are trying to do everything we can to identify those who have problems, to encourage those who have problems to come forward and get treatment. the army leadership in particular has been very aggressive in this area. can i say with certainty that we are not and deploying someone with severe problems? no. but i can tell you we are making
every effort. >> senator rich. >> thank you mr. chairman and thank you for coming here today and helping in being engaged in this national dialogue on this important issue that we really need. i view this really not as a republican problem or a democrat problem. this is an american problem. after all we were all americans before we republicans are democrats and it is polarized this this country is politically, this is an issue we really, really all need to pull together on and i appreciate you coming here and engaging in this conversation. regarding the president's recent announcement on strategy, i think that obviously he had choices as the commander in chief and i think anyone who knows anything about this issue has to be, has to have empathy for what he went through in making this decision. this is a problem that one could
characterize only as a rubik's cube on steroids. it has so many facets. it is difficult to wrestle with and the conclusion one breaches quickly is that there are no good choices. their only choice is to be made would be in the best interest of the american people. secretary clinton observed that we don't hear much about the positives from there and that is true and obviously the media is much more interested in the-pick than the positive but our objective when we went into afghanistan and i think everyone would agree with this, was to get al qaeda to stop the al qaeda, to squelch the al qaeda and that objective really has been met. we have run al qaeda out of afghanistan. unfortunately the taliban
remain, and their relationship that secretary clinton described between the al qaeda and the taliban complicates the issue tremendously, and the difficulty that we hear of course is that al qaeda has now migrated into western pakistan and there is a slow drip if you would have those people migrating into yemen and somalians which is going to cause us a problem in the future i would think. been in any event i think it is a positive that we should look at in the fact that we have driven al qaeda out of afghanistan but we have to remain, we have to deal with what is left over. this is a question that i have. hopefully a brief question. as we build up now and afghanistan, as the president has said we are going to do and you look at what has happened in iraq, whether you agree or
disagree with whether we went there or whether we should have gone there in the first place or whether the surge was good or bad, things seem to be generally better in iraq today than what they have been. when we went through this exercise was any consideration given to stepping up the drawdown in iraq as we build up more quickly in afghanistan? that is did you consider stepping up the schedule for withdrawal from iraq and again a brief answer. >> the answer is no. general odierno has the plan in terms of the drawdown to get our combat forces out of iraq by the end of august 2010 and all of our forces out by the end of 2011. he has found that the conditions, the improved conditions that you referred to in iraq have allowed for the early withdrawal of the-- if these one brigade and that was
based on the situation in of-- in iraq itself so in none of our discussions that either in the pentagon for indie interagency was there discussion of accelerating the drawdown is in the rack. >> thank you. >> bike just add in addition general odierno has been very aware of the requirements of some of the key things, smaller forces, enabling forces that he has, that he has agreed to transfer into afghanistan. so he has been very supportive of this overall approach, albeit very consistent with what the secretary's said in terms of interagency consideration. >> thank you and i would encourage that we keep an eye on that in anything that can be done to accelerate that i think would be beneficial to everyone. secretary clinton you articulated about as well as i have heard, trying to thread the needle on the business of our
commitment. i heard you use the word commitment and i heard you use the term long-haul and those are at odds with the date, and that is a difficult needle to fred because those people of got to be convinced that we do have a commitment and we are there for the long-haul and yet we say july 2010. we really need to be clear on this, because the enemy is going to take their calendar out. they are going to circle july 2011 and say just like america we are going to really wait at that point whether we are going to step down and until then kira at that point, so and again i notice a difficult legal to threat because the american people including myself want to see success. they want to see is out of afghanistan and yet at the same time the people that got to be convinced that somehow we are going to protect them if they cooperate with us so and with all due respect and i don't mean
this may be the wave is going to sound but i heard secretary gates, i heard you talk about a target yesterday when you were talking about july of 2011 and yet the impression i got from the president is it isn't the target as much as a hard date for starting to drawdown. those two things are very difficult to reconcile so again, i am being critical here without an answer but that is a difficult needle to fred but you are going to have to do it. >> let me start briefly by saying i think to the course of the questioning yesterday what i was trying to make clear is that the date of july 2011, the began thinning our forces and transitioning the security responsibilities to the afghans is a firm date. but the pace of that drawdown, the location of the drawdown and
so on will be conditions based and to use his words irresponsible drawdown as we have done in iraq, but there should be, as i said in my opening statement and as secretary clinton just said a few minutes ago, july 2011 is the time that the president has picked when we have to begin drawing down. now, let me just reiterate the balancing act that we, the balance that we have tried to establish here. we are sending a signal of significant i think commitment to be successful in afghanistan with the deployment of these additional forces but at the same time, and as i said yesterday, one of the things that became clear at the end of the surge in iraq was that the iraqis wanted us out of the country as quickly as possible. that is not necessarily the case in afghanistan.
they live in a rough neighborhood and our sense is there are a number of afghans who would like us to hang around with the army and the marine corps to protect them for an indefinite future. one of the important elements of this date is to put the afghans on notice and give them a sense of urgency that they must begin to accept their responsibility for their own security and it is going to start then, so they have to get their men recruited to come and get them trained and get them out in the field and into combat with us. so it's a combination of sending a message of commitment that at the same time putting the afghans on notice that the time is coming when they are going to have to establish their own security or maintain their own security. >> i couldn't agree with you more, the sense of urgency really seems to be lacking there and as the chairman said earlier, they really need to have a sense of urgency instill in them and they think in terms
of centuries. we think in terms of months so it is a difficult proposition. thank you very much. >> if i could just add one comment to that. the state has also been described as arbitrae. it is not arbitrary at all. on the military side we feel that that timeframe between roughly july 2009 when the marines arrived and into july 2011 we will know whether we are going to be successful or not, so and thinking that this or believing this is the right strategy that we will be successful, we think that time of beginning the transfer of security responsibilities and the transition is the right time, and then again there responsibly and based on conditions but it was not an arbitrary date. it is the third year, the third summer if he will that the marines will be in helmand.
we will have a clear indication from three seasons if you will at the heart of the fighting season there, which way this is going. >> thank you admiral. >> senator menendez. >> thank you all for your service to our country. howie 08 dead of credit to the specially of this difficult time. admiral mullen i heard you say that the underresourcing of our engagement in afghanistan over the last for five years has brought us to where we are today so that to me means that our adventure in iraq has created a set of circumstances where we have underresourced our efforts in afghanistan. is that a fair comment? >> as i indicated, i think my previous and comments, clearly the priority in the direction i have both as the chairman and chief of the services to resources iraq. we were balancing deployment,
the balancing time at home. >> you could not iraq resources and resellers afghanistan as you needed to? >> that is correct. >> i look at this july 2011 date and i see it as clearly aspirational and i think we need to be honest with the american people. can any of you tell me that after july 2011 that we won't have tens of thousands of troops years after that date? >> i think that the president and we have been clear that july 2011 is the beginning of the process of drawing down in afghanistan. that process will be based on the conditions on the ground, but you know the president is very, i think i can speak for him and secretary clinton correct me if i get it wrong,
the president throughout this process was very concerned about an open-ended conflict, of just unending commitment of significant numbers of troops and dollars in this, and so i think that he has not put deadlines in terms of when our troops will all be out, but clearly he sees, he sees the july 2011 as i said in my opening statement, and inflection point where we begin to drawdown those forces in afghanistan and with that you to transfer this responsibility to the afghans over a period. >> mr. secretary i appreciate that and you have reiterated that several times. let me go back to my question, again at any of you on this committee tilt me that if in fact after july 2011 we won't have dozens of troops after that date? >> i can tell you what the
intention is. >> madam secretary at delmonte hewitt the intention is. i want to no, can you tell the committee that there would be tens of thousands of troops after july of 20114 years after that? it is unlikely, right? >> i can only answer the way that i am comfortable in giving you the best information available at the moment and that is that there is a convergence of opinion between us and president karzai in his second term. in his inaugural address, he said he wanted the responsibility and would be prepared for the responsibility within three years for afghan control over many important parts of the country. right now 60% of the country is not contesting and within five years the afghans would be responsible for their entire security, so that is his aspiration. what happens to be very much in line with what we want to see
happen. there will be, starting in july 2011, troops withdrawn based on conditions, sitting here today i would believe that we will be able to start the transition as planned in 2011. we also know that there will be probably, for the foreseeable future, a drawdown and transferred out of combat troops, but a request for continuing logistical support for the afghan security force, so that is the kind of targets that we are aiming at. >> admiral mullen, is it true that right now the afghan army only has about 10,000 soldiers that can operate without thus? >> it is a small percentage. >> so what we are talking about
is a massive increase that we seek in the afghan army which presents a daunting obstacle considering the fact that finding sufficient literate recruits and reversing what is an abysmal retention rate is a huge challenge, something we haven't done in eight years we are going to do in eight months. large national army requires a strong and capable central government to command it in clearly-- so when i hear the state's i believe that they are as solid as quicksand ended as the operational. i appreciate the aspiration but the reality is this someone who has to cast a vote for that money that will be coming forth i can tell the people of new jersey or this country that we are doing that clearly on aspirations. i think we need to be a lot more honest about our assessments. this is putting a lot of eggs on
president karzai u.s. been there since 20,011th as a transitional president and then as an elected president. what is he presided over? diaz presided over mass of corruption were anywhere between 20 or 40% seems to be the going rate of skimming off of the taxpayers' money, where members of this family and certain ministers families ultimately seem to do very well in business transactions. they travel to some of the best places in the world and they have bank accounts overseas outside of afghanistan and we want to say that we are really going to conditioned them? of the like to see as conditioned their travel and their bank accounts to make sure we are not going to see the continued corruption. that is a serious effort to have some time of control and say we are not having a blank check. ilec president karzai makes his speech about my brother the taliban. maybe there will be a day of reconciliation but first we have got to fight the taliban before you get to the point of
reconciliation so they understand there's a need for reconciliation. so it worries me that a lot of what we are putting our eggs in here is someone who doesn't even speak and the terms of fighting the enemy. and afghan police that is so rife with corruption and is cooperating with the taliban, and then i look at the disadvantage of having karzai they are. if our national security as we have defined it as creating stability in creating an opportunity for the afghan government to ultimately have the space and the time to fulfill what is ultimately nation-building, we still will have security issues of concern if karzai does not perform 18 months from now. we still will have that security issues so as we define our national security interest whether karzai performs a not we will be stuck in that set of circumstances and that is the real problem. i don't get a sense we have a clear civilian counterpoint and even general mcchrystal says who is my civilian counterpart and
do we really believe 974 versus 100,000 troops is going to meet the civilian aspect of this? finally i get no sense that we have a pakistan strategy. we have been talking about offering them a strategic relationship. they built into what is strategic relationship. they want the money and they want the equipment but at the end of the day they don't want a relationship that cost them too much and it seems to me the more we build up our troops in afghanistan the more reliant we become on the pakistani sinead four idf aways so i just don't get the sense at this point in time of the comprehensive policy that says i should vote for billions of dollars more to send our sons and daughters into harm's way in a way that we will ultimately succeed in national security because i know if i will be convinced before that vote comes but as for right now i am not. >> do you want to convince them right now? >> i will wait and do that mr. chairman. we will bring in more
reinforcements. >> senator isakson. >> thank you mr. chairman. first of all tankless to all of you for your service and commitment to the country and i know the last thing you want to talk about is july 2011 but i do want to try to focus on something. i've been very impressed with what you said yes today and the armed services and but you have said today. i saw you this morning on fox, with regard to this july 2011 date. secretary clinton said just as we have done in iraq we will execute this transition responsively taking into account the conditions on the ground. you have said today secretary gates that the goal is to clear, hold builded transferrer which is what we did in iraq. we transferred up 40 and now the iraqis are in control and i think that is the goal all this one. the problem of the shai levin date is the concern that there's one constituency we are not talking to yet. were talking to the american people want to win income home. we are talking to the afghanis
and karzai yes byd take responsibility. we are not going to be your surrogate army and we are not going to stay forever and that is important but the al qaeda intel bennett the other constituents and this july 11 date gives them some opportunities so i think statements like what he said secretary clinton about being determined by the outcome on the ground and admiral mullen you have been quite clear and you said yesterday secretary gates the president has to change his mind anytime a wanted based on the circumstances that take place, but and i'm not asking a question you but i'm going to tell you what part of the confusion still exists for some of us who were scared about sending it wrong signal. press secretary gibbs this morning according to an article about chip reid of cbs news in responding to a question about the july 11 date said befalling and i quote, the president told me it is locked in. there's no flexibility. troops will start coming home on july 2011 period.
that said the state and is not helpful to that constituency being al qaeda and the taliban and don't need to be incurred that there is a talent level which we won't go in this battle because each of you said that this is the epicenter of islamic terrorism. i believe that as well. the intelligence that all the sieve scene is that play and is the speech were constituencies, the americans and the afghanis we have got to also understand we are talking to the taliban and al qaeda and our resolve has to be there or the commitment we are making to the streets is not going to have the force behind it needs to have. i am not asking a question and i don't want to put you between mr. gibson your excellent testimony today but that is the thing that has to be dealt with in delivering the message. i want ask any of you to have to respond to that but i think it is important. two questions from me. on the taliban and the al qaeda. are we tracking their sources?
you had referred admiral mullen to the skill level of the encounters we had had most recently with them what cells me they have both the equipment and the leadership that they can fide pretty doggone good battle. were they getting this from? is it coming from iran? is it coming out of pakistan? is a combination? do we know? >> the most significant threat we see for our people is the id network that is growing in afghanistan and actually a lot of that is homegrown. there's not a lot coming from the outside. rather than specific arms, certainly financing we are trying to pay attention to that, where they are getting their finances from. some of it is coming from the opium fields, some of it is coming from the gulf. some of that is-- a tax all the locals. so trying to impact that and actually we put people in place to focus on this specifically in
afghanistan, so from that standpoint, those are the focus is rather than the individual weapons, and lease that is my experience in that part of the world. it is the question of who they are going to use it again so from that standpoint we are hard after that. >> let me give an example on the ied's pirg of the most devastating ied's that are being used against our troops in agents hour mrap's and so on is based on ammonium nitrate fertilizer. it is illegal to have that fertilizer in afghanistan so it is clearly a smuggling network that is bringing in huge quantities. one of the ied's that went off on one of our mrap's was 1500 pounds of this ammonium nitrate for the what they do is basically use it as a triggering device, mines left over from the
soviet era so there is a lot of stuff left over from that period when frankly some of us were involved in shipping a lot of arms into afghanistan. >> thank you for that answer. secretary gates unsecretary clinton both had said, and secretary clinton i have your statement here about talking about afghanistan pakistanis and we will develop a long-term relationship so that we did not repeat the mistakes of the past and i think in your testimony you referred to the stakes in the past. is that in the context of the inconsistent engagement with pakistan? is that the mistake you were referring to? >> i think it was really turning our backs on both afghanistan and pakistan. the pakistanis, and it goes to the question that was after earlier. the truth is there is a great deal of mistrust on the part of the pakistanis toward us. they believe we have abandoned them or betrayed them on several
different occasions. only the most recent of which was the late '80s and early 1990's, and so we have a lot of work to do in trying to convince them that we are not trying to take over their country, that we are not trying to take control of their nuclear weapons and that we are actually interested in a long-term partnership with them. but it is because, and i was deputy national security pfizer at the time. we were dealing with the collapse of the soviet union and the liberation of eastern europe. it wasn't like we were twiddling our thumbs at the time but the fact remains the united states turn its back on afghanistan and the irony is and i was talking two of the house foreign affairs committee yesterday, the irony is charlie wilson who was so successful in getting money for the cia to give to the mujahedeen as weapons to beat the soviets after the soviets left trying to get money for the
civil side where he was able to get hundreds of millions for the weapons could get very small amounts to build schools and so on so that was the mistake, in both countries. >> thank you very much. thank you again for your service to the country and your stations with the committee today. >> thank you very much senator cardin. >> thank you very much and i also want to echo my sincere appreciation to all three of you for your service to our country. i tell you have the greatest confidence in your abilities and your commitment and i know you are doing your best and you are working together as the team. secretary gates you pointed out this is part of a coordinated strategy that the-- to deal with the epicenter of terrorism which is in the afghan-pakistan border areas. i want to raise one other issue. you talked about external forces that are supporting the terrorist organizations with
their recruitment strategies. one of the strategies i thought the administration was pursuing was the closing of guantanamo bay. not only because it was an effective in what you were trying to accomplish but also that it was at least a recruitment symbol for a terrorist organization. we have fallen behind on that. can you comment briefly to me whether we are still committed and how important that is as part of our strategy in dealing with terrorist? >> weed very much are committed to closing guantanamo. we have very detailed plans on how to do that. we are thinking the final stages of selecting a facility and we are at the same time in the process of identifying detainee's that we believe can be transferred to other countries. i think there are about 215 detainees left. we have identified 116 at this point that we think will be
transferred. the president has every intention of doing this and we will do it. the logistics, principally the logistics of that have proved more complicated than-- but i think we are about there. >> alimport this is in regards to our strategy's against terrorists? >> one of the reasons why i articulated the opinion that we should close guantanamo not long after i got this job at the end of 2006 is because the irony is guantanamo is probably the best prison in the world today. elastical train ayers, flat screen tv's, and probably the most highly dickeson-aboud discipline guard force in the world but it has a legacy and what i said three years ago is it bears 18th and it is a recruiting tool for al qaeda and
for other terrorists and islamic extremists so i think that there is unanimity in the administration that we need to get this done and as soon as we can finalize logistics' i think we will see pretty quick prod-- progress sector that. >> let me say from the outset that i am unconvinced on the need for additional troops so i have concern about committing more americans to this effort. first let me get the number. the president has authorized 30,000 but as i understand that number can be more than 30,000 when he talked about the back of supports? >> during our discussions one of the things that i have tried to make clear consistently is that when you are looking ahead it is impossible to foresee every need, and where i do not, where high have ask the president for flexibility is in medics, in intelligence surveillance and
reconnaissance, and counter the ied capabilities, and insured road clearance, reengineers. those things the secede with safeguarding the lives of our troops and i have asked him for a modest amount of flexibility on that. is in the range of about 10% of the 30,000. my hope is that, at that i won't need to use much if any of that, but trying to look ahead a year or more i felt having some flexibility was important. particularly in terms of safeguarding our troops. >> i understand that so we are looking at potentially 33,000 additional troops? >> potentially. >> dustily get the number right. i am going to talk about the benchmarks. you talk about the circumstances on the ground will dictate the withdrawal of the standdown of troops in july of 2011. we have benchmarks that are currently being developed for afghanistan.
i would like to hear more specifics as to what would be the circumstances on the ground that would affect your recommendation on troop levels starting in july? are we talking about the performance of the afghan government? how they control the security of their country? are we looking at the number of military that they have ready to stand up? are we looking at the cooperation we received internationally from the international community as part of this? are we looking at the activities of the taliban and specifically how much of the nation they control or how many al qaeda are actually in afghanistan? and i hope you can be specific as to what are we looking for as far as the circumstances on the ground so that congress can at least carry out our responsibility in evaluating this request, so do we know what we are looking at 18 months from now. what expectations we can expect in can you be specific on this?
anyone of you. >> to the highest risk areas from my perspective with respect to this strategy, one is karzai and his government and i mean that down to the subdistrict level, not just a couple. and the other is the development of the afghan security forces. we set annual year-to-year targets. some of the reasons that have already been discussed here. but with respect to the karzai government, specifics, good ministers, good governors, anticorruption, local governments, is the money actually going to the people? are the goods and services getting to the people in the villages? ansf the annual targets i talked about we have got to reduce the attrition rate, increase the retention rate, specifically and then they will transition to more security forces. corruption in particular on the
police side which has been mentioned. international support. we expect-- will need to see lows and actually what they are doing on the ground, not just military but civilian as well. there are not contributing nations. japan being one. recently contributing, agree to contribute up to $5 billion to afghanistan. pakistan shifting their strategic calculus. do we see that happening because we have got to work with them to get at the safe havens for the al qaeda so those are some of, at the major level. >> i would hope we could be more specific. let me just challenge you and one, the corruption of the karzai government which has been well documented. this that mean that if progress is the thought made we reduce their troop levels quicker or if progress is made, we keep more troops there? how does that translate to u.s. troops being in the heather?
is it a positive side for removing troops or a negative side, corruption? >> senator what we are looking for is capacity and effectiveness. we believe corruption is one of the reasons why the karzai government has not developed the capacity it needs nor has it been effective enough. i mean i don't want anybody to think that we are trying to aim toward some zero corruption standard in afghanistan. that doesn't exist anywhere in the world and particularly that part of the world but what we do expect to see if the government that delivers more for the people, thereby obtaining the allegiance of more people in more parts of the country that can support the effective ministers and the effective governors especially where we need them. we each have the experiences with different industries that we think are quite confident and very professional. the defense ministry, the
interior ministry, increasingly the finance and the education and agriculture ministry. i did that time to respond to senator menendez at the length and with the thoroughness that his long litany deserves but this is not all a negative picture and i think it is unfair to our efforts and unfair to the efforts of many people inside the afghanistan government you are actually making a positive difference in the performance that we would expect from a functioning government. we have to do it better job on the international side to coordinate their aid, to give more accountability for what we spend in afghanistan but much of the corruption is fueled by the money that has poured into that country over the last 80 years. and e this corruption that every step along the way, not just in the palace in kabul. when we are so dependent upon
long supply lines as we are in afghanistan where everything has to be imported it is much more difficult than it was in iraq where we had kuwait as a staging ground to go into iraq. you offloading ship in karachi and by the time whatever it is, muffins for soldiers breakfast couric inside ied equipment it gets to where we are headed, it goes through lot hands and one of the major sources of funding for the taliban is the protection money. that does nothing to do with president karzai so i think we owe you a more careful and pecking of a lot of the concerns and we will endeavor to provide that. >> i appreciate that. >> senator webb. >> thank you mr. chairman. i would like to welcome all three of you again after a brief exchange yesterday. it has been interesting to hear
how different committees approach the same situation. welcome to the formulations committee. it like to say first of all i think we have pretty broad agreement about the concerns that were facing in afghanistan, even among members who have been pretty vocal here today. the question really is to continue to examine the process that we are proposing in order to address those questions and i think there has been some really excellent points made today by senator feingold who talked about the concern i have had for a number of years that we are losing our maneuverability. we did it in iraq. we are in danger to a certain extent losing it in afghanistan as the face a threat to this country that has a high degree of mobility.
and, senator corker i think it's made some really valid points and we have heard again and again this question about time line versus concepts and i am going to mention something on that again, but before i do, i want to just-- secretary gates i want to give you might you want something you said just to clarify byfield for the record when you said in your view a lot of afghanistan people don't want us to leave and that being one of the motivations behind appointing some sort of a date on the process and perhaps that is more true among people who are in the government then it is afghanis writ large. i would comment there is in asia foundation survey this year, which shows that 56% of those surveyed were sympathetic to anti-government groups that use violence against us and this is
the country as i mentioned yesterday that has long history of opposing any sort of foreign occupation, so that is the other side of this and i think there is some legitimacy in the concern that senator boxer mentioned with the level of violence that might be engendered by a military presence in areas where there is the perception of occupation and we discussed that yesterday and i won't go into it again today. i would just like to play all three basic thoughts here. one is, if we are talking about a stable supported afghanistan which is something that came up in testimony, it is very difficult particularly if we are talking about being there long term. it is difficult to do that without a stable viable government of some sort and i am curious and i've mentioned this a number of times before, about the process to-- the constitution that form this government as a result of the
bond agreements with john paper created decentralize system and might be needed, or might be an adjustment needed constitutionally or otherwise that involves some sort of power and realistically we are going to begets stability in the provinces and above and the second is he can't grow in national army of foreigner thousand including the national police without people who are willing to support that concept and we are having a very difficult time and growing debt. i've not heard anything from the president yesterday or today an admiral mullen i would like your thoughts on this, with respect to where we are in terms of meeting the goals that we announced in terms of growing that national army. and third, you can't really talk about this timeline. i think this is probably one of the greatest difficulties of the way that this is then presented. it is very difficult to talk
about a timeline for a withdrawal without clearly laying out in an affirmative way of what the conditions on the ground will be that will enable this process to begin and i think that it's something we haven't really heard in these exchanges from yesterday to today. what is this going to look like not necessarily specifically province by province but what is this the environment going to look like when this turnover occurs so those of bequeth-- free questions i would have been secretary clinton i would very much like to hear your views on the nature of this government and how we can operate long term without addressing some way to perhaps change the constitution. >> well, senator i will take number one. i think maybe admiral mullen could take number to cup and secretary gates can be our
cleanup hitter. i think you raise a very profoundly important question and it is something that i began discussing with president karzai they are on my last visit. there has to be that these symbolization of government functions and authority that reflects the way the country actually operates. i think this has to be undertaken in a clear process headed by motivated by the interest of the afghans themselves. i think the bond constitution, which was a credible effort made a number of assumptions that were at varients with both the past and the current reality within the afghanistan. so, this does seem to be a conversation that president karzai is willing to engage in.
there are certain red lines for him as there would be for any president of a sovereign country. but he was very open to it. looking for ways to bring in some of the traditional decision-making processes like the loya jirga and make it a part of an ongoing governmental authority. there is a lot there that we should be looking at, and so i think your suggestion is one that we will be talking to him further about, and finally i think too, that's the way that the government currently functions is something that could not the necessarily have been predicted eight years ago at vaughn. >> i agree with you will on that by the way.
in the context of 01 it was eight-- >> that is right, so now i think it is time to take stock and there are many different ideas being discussed and what we need is to make this an afghan process. i just want to reiterate and close with this. the last thing in the world we want is a bunch of international experts flying into kabul to tell the government and the people of afghanistan here is how you must construct your government but let's work together to get the lessons that have been learned and then try to translate them. >> the challenge would be for karzai to understand that in the long run it would be in his self-interest i would say. >> not only that-- the interest of his legacy. you know, i mean what of the things president karzai has said to me is that his family, his family has fought for afghanistan for 300 years.
he carries that sense of patriotism very close to his heart. now, we may have different views about how he sees his role and how he has conducted it but i think it is a serious mistake not to put yourself into the shoes of the other person and to actually listen and understand how they see the reality they and have it, so that is part of what we are trying to get better than it is that over the last several years. >> thank you. >> quickly senator webb, we are on the army side about 96,000. that said 55 to 60,000 are out there in the field so we have got to work on the overhead aspect of this. one of the fontal-- fundamental changes that mcchrystal put forward as the parties. >> in terms of growing this size
of the afghani military courts are we on target in terms of growing the size of the actual size of the national army? >> the targets just recently got reset by mcchrystal so we are at 96,000 in the army right now. we need to be at 134 about 12 months from now roughly in that kind of increase each year to build to whatever the eventual outcome is aspirational, notionally 400,000 between both the army and police specifically but we have got to reduce the retention. we have got to increase retention significantly, reduce the attrition and increase recruiting. one of the things, the taliban make a lot more money than the national security forces right now so general mcchrystal is as we speak increasing the pay
fairly significantly for the security forces which we think will have an impact so we think we understand what the specifics are, what we need to do but it is really about executing that and we don't underestimate particularly on the police said the significance of the challenge in the risks that are associated with that. and the and they are the ones that are going to provide local security. they are the ones that they are going to be able to hold and on which to build in the long run and we know that. >> thank you. >> let me just say we are going to run up against the timeframe. there is going to be a vote i think somewhere within the next ten or 15 minutes. >> let me in terms of the third question that has been discussed a good bit, leave it as an observation so we can move the hearing on. >> thank you very much senator. in addition to that secretary gates i know has to leave at noon sharp and secretary clinton needs to leave for brussels so we do want to try to wrap it up
pecan. i know-- >> i am kidding, i am going with my boss. >> we would love to have had a second round of this and there will be an ongoing conversation. i think we will have chances may be to get the committee together for a good conversation rather than just the hearing and i think if you are willing to do that it would be very helpful at some point in time. senators shaheen. >> thank you mr. chairman. i want to begin by thanking each of you. >> i will tell you i don't know why we have a hurricane above us today. >> we thought it was then a bowling alley. >> it would be news to me. >> i want to applaud you and the president and everyone who has been involved in a very thorough review of what our strategy should be in afghanistan. new hampshire this week is sending another 140 national guard members over to
afghanistan and is you pointed out secretary clinton these are mothers and fathers, sons and daughters and we'll them and all of the men and women serving their a mission that they can understand and support and i think it is appropriate also that we continue to have a rigorous debate in congress and in the senate about what we are going to do so thank you all for that. there have been a number of mentions of those the importance and the potential for reconciling certain taliban elements in the importance of that to the success of what happens in afghanistan. have any of those overtures begun and two do you see is going to do those kinds of negotiations? how do we envision that happening? >> first of all we have tried to in our discussions differentiate
between reconciliation and reintegration. it may seem like a semantic point, but we consider reconciliation to be what the opportunities are there with taliban leaders to bring them over, along with the people who are fighting for them. i think the general view is that, until the momentum shift against the taliban, the likelihood of significant reconciliation in those terms is not very bright, so that is part of changing the momentum is beginning to get these guys to think differently about the future. with respect to reintegration this is really about getting the foot soldiers to decide that they don't want to be part of the taliban anymore and we have some very limited anecdotal information about people deciding they didn't want to fight for the taliban anymore,
and going back to the relatives. the key here and we think that there's some significant percentage of these foot soldiers who actually are doing this for pay or who left been intimidated into doing it, so if we could provide economic opportunities or the international organizations or whoever or our efforts on agriculture can give more opportunities for them to earn a salary but the security piece is absolutely central because there are also too many stories of people who have wanted to quit the taliban, who not only themselves had been killed but all of their families have been killed, so the security environment in a village or in a district has to be such that these people who want to put down their guns and pick up a plow can do so without the fear that they and their entire families will be massacred and again, this is the matter of
establishing security but it is also a sense of-- secretary clinton referred earlier to more of a hedging on the part of the afghans because of their uncertainty of who is going to win, because the winners, if the winners are the other side and they have picked our side they will be killed. and so they are waiting to see where the momentum is shifting and frankly it is this shift of momentum that we think is important and that is a fundamental purpose behind this surge of troops to push that taliban back and to create an environment in which these people as they look at the situation and decide which way they want to go, go our way, go the way of the afghan government. >> thank you. secretary clinton i know you are on your way to win a dill meeting and i had the opportunity a couple of weeks ago was secretary gates to be part of the first of a forum on global security with a number of our nato allies and was on the
panel with the german foreign minister and was impressed with his willingness to look at germany's roll inder nato mission. i just wondered what message you are going to take to were nato allies to encourage them to talk to their publics and about the importance of the mission in afghanistan? >> well, senator we have been reaching out vigorously to our counterparts certainly the president has spoken with the number of heads of state, the vice president, secretary gates, myself, national security adviser jones and we have got a very encouraging response. secretary general rasmussen and nato has been very positive about the president's decision that has carried that message to capitols across europe, and they
think that, as the weeks ahead unfold, there will be significant announcements of additional troops. our hope is that the aggregate of the truett announcements will be between five and 7,000. that would give us a lot more leeway in many of the parts of the country that we want to continue to make sure our secure. it would help with the performance of certain functions as well as the important role of training the police and the army, so we are encouraged. there will also be an international meeting at the request of prime minister brown and chancellor merkel at the end of january which is a very important event for a lot of our nato isaf allies so i think that we will see in real terms the delivery on the rhetorical support that the president's
decision has engendered. >> will your discussions also include better coordination of the different nato forces who were in afghanistan? >> well, that's certainly is a conversation that we are in the midst of. i held the meeting when i was in coupled with about a dozen of the nato isaf ministers who were there, and one of the points that i stresses that we have to do it better job coordinating our civilian aid, how we but like to see a civilian counterpart to general mcchrystal it is the commander of the baidoa isaf forces. not all the isaf members as you know are in a dose of trying to structure this the right place is challenging but there is a great and growing understanding of why we need to do a better job with all of the partners, nato, isaf, the united nations. obviously the united states believes we have to play a major
role in this because of the burdens that we have assumed that we want the international support as well. >> thank you and i am out of time but i just wanted to urge follow up on what the herd from centers webb and cardin that the measures of how we are going to determine our success over the next 18 to 24 months i think will be very important to make sure that the understand and that the public understands what we are looking now that shows us that we are being successful. thank you. >> senator casey. >> mr. chairman thank you very much and i want to thank secretary gates these two things, your public service at this time and a nation's history as well as the review that was conducted along with the president which was both thorough and essential and contrary to some of the commentary around washington.
i wanted to return to a topic that minow some have explored to some degree of betty, and that is president karzai and his government. we know that as we have heard a number of occasions in order to get this right and we have to get it right, i can't imagine a more serious and grave situation we have faced in recent american history but to get it right and get the security rights, the government's part of this right as well as other issues like development and to get governance write president karzai has to be a full partner in this. i was in afghanistan pakistan in august and i know that when you are on the ground in a country for a couple of days, i know that those few days in any country does not confer our missions on any senator but i have to say that meeting with
we have enhanced our cooperation between law enforcement and intelligence fbi, dea, department of justice in order to clearly and unequivocally present evidence of corruption that we expect action to be taken with respect to charging and prosecuting and removing from office and seeking restitution from those against whom a case can be made. we are also working to certify ministries as to which will or will not receive the money for the united states and we want that to be part of our overall coordination to go back to senator shaheen's questions we can have an internationally accepted standard for transparency and accountability in these governments.
we are working closely and encouraging the right to decisions in our view to be made about the new cabinet, governors to be appointed and the like. so there is an intense ongoing consultation. i would think probably ambassador eikenberry and other members of his leadership team spent many hours every day in direct consultation and conversation with not only president karzai but others of positions of responsibility. so we are moving on all of these fronts, senator casey, and it's not easy and we think that our intentions are clear and we expect to see progress made. but again i don't want to paint some utopia that we are attempting to achieve. that isn't in the cards anywhere. in the united states has been deeply involved in other countries coming back 60 years
often with combat troops on the ground where there was massive corruption, there was in study, there were fraudulent elections and you have to have a certain level strategic patients to see things through. and i think president karzai and his government have been under more scrutiny than probably most ever have been. we do a lot of business with a lot of countries that have elections where the leader is reelected in 98 or 99% and we don't say a word. we keep going. the difference is we have our young men and women, military and civilian in a combat situation and we have to expect more but we need to put it in a broad context what we have done a around the world for decades and the kind of efforts that prove successful in keeping with the national security needs of the united states. >> i want to commend the work that you have done and
eikenberry and others. it's not easy, and we're dealing with a sovereign government. there are limitations to what we can do but i know how important it is. i wanted to raise another issue, and what they're sick of brigades and admiral mullen want to add to anything we have to explain already that the second element of this i guess this part of getting it right in terms of governance would be what do we do with or can we have impact, positive impact on local and provincial leaders. one thing that was heartening to me, as disappointed as i was with some of president karzai's dancers, was that the two ministers we met with the minister ward dak as well as of march, army and police responsibilities of the sleeper said to be and i think in a limited time we had with them gave evidence they are competent and they've got a lot of skills. we also met some capable local
and provincial leaders and i'm wondering whether or not or i should say directly what is the strategy with regard to engage in local or provincial leaders and how does that factor into getting this government's peace right? >> from actually my confirmation hearings i've been concerned that among other things we were too focused on the central government in afghanistan and particularly the notion of trying to build a strong central government in a country that had never had and that we were not paying enough attention to the local land tribal leaders and the traditional institutions in afghanistan. one of the tragedies in the 30 years of war back is one of those local institutions, the tribal shura and so on have been weakened as elders have been shot or executed and their authority under mind and the taliban goes after them specifically. and so, i think a really important part of the
president's decisions and our discussions was how are we going to engage at the sub national level, the provincial level of the district level and at the local and village level. and it's everything from the president's talk to secretary clinton and myself about communications, how do we communicate with those people, convey to them what we end the afghan government are trying to do and how do we work with them and the truth of the matter is and we will get into it further down the road but in terms of the transference and security responsibility in a lot of these districts and areas it may not be the afghan national army or the afghan national police to whom we turn for providing the local security. it may well be a local security force that operates within the context of the provincial government or the district government. we've seen experiments with this
in bordoff province and elsewhere and the fort pretty well. and so, i think it is going to be a mixed. and to answer the question senator wed asked, my view is we would do the transfer of security and the same way we did in iraq and there will be judgment by the isaf commanders of when and every guy is ready when the local forces are ready to assume that responsibility with us in a tactical and then strategic overwatch got sort of the cavalry over the hill if you will, and i think that -- but local security forces and local governments are going to be a big part of that, big part of the equation. the caution we have is not to cross the line and reestablish warlords and local militias that in fact hour operating independent of the government and whether at the district or the provincial or the national level. >> i know i'm out of time but -- >> senter kaufman, we are in the back seven minutes of the vote.
there's a greece period as you know. senator cardin is going to come back so that we can hopefully get the to last senators and here but if you want to truncate a little bit it is your choice. >> i will do that. >> i want to thank you for rustling what i find to agree with the several statements made on the complex problems and difficult problem because it involves the lives of the folks that are just the best among us and i also want to thank queue for the patience to wrestle with us on this issue and the ability to do that and i can't think of three people who would be better than i would be happier to see russell this problem than the three of you. i want to agree with what senator casey and others said. the number one problem here there's a lot of problems. so i don't minimize any but the number one problem is do we have a partner in the afghan government for success? that to me is the key question. i spent time, two trips to
afghanistan, met with folks and talked to them. that's the number-one problem on my mind and one of the great things i think about the president's proposal is he came up with a way which i thought no one could, to kind of give me some hope that we can do something with present government and that is setting the deadline of july 2000 because people came in and talked to me. i talked to so many people and said we should use our leverage on karzai. i don't think we have leverage in karzai that we were going to leave, so i think it's very clean that issue at the end of this thing i think it's important there's been a lot of confusion back-and-forth on the declines. i want to make it clear to send a message to the afghan government. you have no doubt the president has a deadline of transferring troops out of afghanistan in july of 2011. is that fair to say? is it fair to say there for to deal with other problems we had in comparisons made you have no doubt we will not be getting more troops to afghanistan after
this deployment? >> outside of the 3,000 potentially you may have to add -- that is the commitment we have made to the president. >> this is not like the vietnam where we had promises and then didn't. this isn't like iraq. this is a firm commitment by president of the united states by the major foreign policy strategic planners in the you've no more it helps the
process work and in the end is critical to our own delivery process so we thank you for doing that and i wish you well on your journey. senator jalabert and? >> thank you to each of you for being here. you've provided extraordinary leadership for the country and we are extremely grateful. i agree with my colleague discussed difficult issue any of us can face. i would like you to touch briefly if you can on the issue of al qaeda. psychiatry gates and i last time we spoke talked about white you kershaw qaeda has foothold in afghanistan, he provided analysis by that type of a foothold would be able to be a launching ground for similar attacks on 9/11 and the overwhelmingly destabilizing effect with regard to pakistan which obviously has nuclear weapons that could pose grave security risks to the united states. my concern is what is to stop al qaeda from moving to somalia or yemen or any other place and to
the extent you can talk about this on and on secure basis what are some of the things you intend to do militarily and in other operations with regard to other places al qaeda will create potential strongholds? >> very briefly, as i sit in my opening statement, al qaeda -- the afghan pakistan border area is the epicenter. it is historic. it is the site of the historic victory over the soviet union by many of the same actors, and it is where the planning and the inspiration, certainly the inspiration much of the training, much of the planning for al qaeda operations emanates from and wherever people have been, whether it's somalia or yemen or the united states or the united kingdom almost always
the roots respect to this border area. it is the home base if you will of this operation and it's interesting as i said earlier how other terrorist groups including al qaeda, the moderate, al qaeda, the i arabian peninsula gravitate and look to that area for leadership and inspiration and legitimacy of their efforts in the context of the terrorist aspirations and all i can tell you is that we are very aggressive going after al qaeda and we have the authority of the president to hunt them down wherever in the world we find them. >> i would add, senator, that al qaeda has three deep roots now in this border area. a day have operated in the case of bin laden and others in and around this area going back 20
years. well, 30 years. they have a degree of protection from both the afghan side and the pakistan site. if you read the long articles david wrote when he escaped, there is a governmental presence in effect in the on governed areas of pakistan that gives them every reason to believe they are secure and it's not just one or more people picking up, the extent families, they have networks of connections that would have to be disrupted. so i don't see that it would be very attractive for easy for them to leave where they are and i am not sure there is any train anywhere in the world that is more hospitable to them. so for all those reasons i think
that's where we will find them. >> meeting most significantly we would love to see them leave their. >> the only thing i would add to that goes to stick to regain its comment about having been seen to defeat the soviet union. this would be seen to defeat the only remaining super power, and that is an inspiration for recruiting. it is acceleration for the global extremist capabilities and it is what in the long run my worry the most about if they are seen to be able to do that. even as they are more diminished, which they have been over the last few years, but they are very, very deadly and they seek the same. >> thank you again for your testimony and time. we are extremely grateful for your leadership. thank you. >> psychiatry clinton is aware we have a vote going on on the
floor of the senate so there has been a little shuttling back and forth but i do want to thank secretary clinton and secretary gates and admiral mullen on behalf of the chairman for your patience today and particularly for your service to the country and with that the senate foreign relations committee will stand adjourned. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
the committee on homeland security will come to order. the committee is meeting today to receive testimony on the united states secret service and a presidential protection and examination of assistance failure. good morning. i want to thank the witnesses for agreeing to testify here today. some people have asked me why we are having this hearing. let me be clear. this hearing is not about crashing a party at the white house. neither is it about what to be celebrities or reality television. on the contrary, this hearing is about real world threats to the
nation. we cannot forget that amidst all of the hullaaloo and up for the disputable fact is that a couple gained unauthorized access to the white house grounds because no one from the secret service prevented them from entering. they remained at the white house because no one from the secret service required them to leave we are not concerned about agency embarrassment, this conflict or shame cannot serve as a substitute for performance. the security gaps at issue cannot be explained as miss steps by few front-line employees. there were undeniable planning and execution failures of the entire secret service apparatus. with security failing that
seemed to hang over the evening like a fall -- fall. we are fortunate that the celebration did not become an item for. there is no doubt that this incident can be an enlightening case study but it is not enough to merely analyze. we must dissect every fact. we must learn the lesson and fix the problem and after we do these things we need to give thanks that no lives were lost. today we will take a hard look at secret service actions and omissions that have been revealed and confirmed by this incident. this nation's response to the terrorism threat at home and abroad demands that we maintain vigilance. the fact that on authorized persons gained access to the white house complex during an
official state dinner mixed and mingled and were photographed with the president, vice president and prime minister of india is about as far from vigilant as one can get. it is simply unacceptable. the american people deserve a full accounting and full accountability and we must be assured that this will never happen again. i look forward to the testimony presented today and i look forward to the actions that should follow. the chair now recognizes the ranking member of the full committee, the gentleman from new york mr. king for an opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman. let me at the outset thank you and your staff for the level of cooperation you've shown as far as scheduling a hearing and keeping us apprised of what's happening and also as far as agreeing with my request that disagree rogers because the
member before this committee. i agree completely that we cannot have discomfort or shame the reason for someone on to testify and sold to responsibility. it's also important we dissect every fact. let me say secret service does a outstanding job. obviously mistakes were made commend the internal investigation and for the level of cooperation he has given to me and i realize you as well over the last several days putting everything on the table and holding nothing back so i commend him for that. whatever decisions he's to make within the secret service i am sure he will do the right thing. mr. chairman, the reality is social events at the white house, security is a shared responsibility. between the secret service and office of the social secretary we have gone back through two administrations and cannot find any instance of any significant event at the white house where the secretary isn't their standing with the secret service. there's reasons for this. one is in the event someone is
supposed to be on the list and is not the social secretaries office can resolve that. they can work to resolve but while the secret service continues to process other people on line. in this instance for whatever reason the decision was made not to have one person from the social secretary's office standing with secret service that might, not one. so this reverses policies of at least two administrations. the reason i ask for disarray rogers to come was not in any way to make this a vendetta and go after her adel for the same reason we ask director solution to testify because we want a complete picture we have to learn from secret service what they do, but they didn't do, with the social secretaries of state. this is a real issue. we had a string of the week the white house saying secret service was entirely to blame. it's come all the way around about to the assistant chief of staff for the white house saying the white house was not printed in a policy of having someone from social secretary's office
with secret service. but he isn't saying is that this is the policy that was in affect at least two previous administrations. and to me the issue is who made the decision, why was the decision made not to have anyone from the social secretary's office there that night. i will say and i have no doubt at all if someone from the social secretary's office has been there doing what has been done for at least the previous 16 or 17 years that the couple would not have been allowed into the white house. they would have been stopped. of course there were not on the list, the secret service officer would have handed them off to the social secretary's office and they would have resulted. and i know previous administrations had a whole team of social secretaries there. people from the diplomatic office, people from legislative affairs, people from the president's staff to avoid embarrassing incidents and also make sure no one got in who was not supposed to be. so if desare rogers is not to be here for the white house mr. gibbs offhandedly set up the white house briefing yesterday
mr. chairman may be received notice from the white house, we certainly didn't, we listened to what mr. gibbs said when he said that vice house staff don't testify before congress. that isn't true. i was on the banking committee in 1994 during the whitewater hearings when president clinton sent george stephanopoulos, maggie williams, hillary clinton's chief of staff, said lloyd cutler, president's council and also the previous council mark gearan, as press secretary to testify before congress and yet on this issue where we are talking about the security of the president of the united states, the person who made the decision is not going to be here. i think it is wrong, stonewalling. this was a bipartisan request, mr. chairman. a bipartisan request in the white house that prides itself on being open and on cooperation. but in this instance they are stonewalling. and for our committee to work with white house there has to be an element of trust. they preached that trust and i am doing all i can. i work with you to issue subpoenas to have them here but
i also believe that we should subpoena desare rogers. this is and separation of powers issue. this is where there are people at the white house said sizing the president on health care or cap and a tree or afghanistan. we are talking about an administrative decision to have people or not have people standing with secret service and change the policy of at least 20 years standing and mr. chairman this is an incomplete hearing. it's half a hearing. we're getting half the picture from secret service acknowledging its responsibility of stonewalling the white house. donald back. >> thank you very much. just for the record the salahi's for all on the list. so that social secretary wouldn't have had the responsibility in this situation. the party planners, they are not security personnel and i think one of the reasons we brought the director sullivan today is to explain the role of the secret service from security
standpoint and he can answer a number number of these questions as we go forward. other members are reminded of the kennedy rules opening statements may be submitted for the record. our women's is mark sullivan. mr. saladdin was sworn in as a 22nd director of the united states secret service on may 31st, 2006. mr. sullivan has been the recipient of numerous awards for superior performance throughout his 26 year tenure with secret service including the distinguished presidential rank award 2005. welcome, mr. sullivan to thank you for being here today. without objection the witnesses full statement will be inserted in the record. i now ask directors sullivan to summarize his statement for five minutes. >> thank you, chairman. good morning, chairman thompson, ranking member king and other
distinguished members of the committee. the u.s. secret service is an organization that maintains deep pride and the brackett does on behalf of the nation. based on the high standards which the women of this agency hold themselves in the standards the nation expects i regret on tuesday, november 24th established protocols and procedures were not followed. allowing two individuals entry into the white house. the moment this was brought to my attention wednesday, november november 25th on a immediately directed officer of professional responsibility to begin an investigation into review and to the evin surrounding the previous evening. further, i directed the office of professional responsibility to contact the department of homeland security office of inspector general in order to advise them of our investigations. while the investigation remains
on going, preliminary findings have determined that established procedures related to entering the white house were not followed at initial checkpoint. in judgment in mistake was made. and our line of work we cannot afford even one mistake. in this particular circumstance, to individuals who should have been prohibited from passing through a checkpoint and injuring the ground were allowed to proceed to the magnetometers and other levels of screening before they were then allowed to enter the white house. although these individuals and for screening their entry into the white house is unacceptable and indefensible. the u.s. secret service relies heavily on the professionalism and training of our men and women to make informed decisions based on sound judgment. in this case on a fully
acknowledge the proper procedures were not followed and human error occurred in the execution of duties. this law has not changed the agency's standard which is to be right 100% of the time. this event does not represent quality of protection that the dedicated men and women of this agency provide every day. this past year we processed more than 1.2 million visitors into the white house without incident. in our profession, however, there's no margin for error. i realize many people share our disappointment in this incident. as an agency we will continue to remain our harshest critic and take necessary actions to remedy this issue and continuing to
successfully carry out our critical mission. i am extremely confident and proud of the work of our men and women in the security measures we put in place on a daily basis at the white house the vice presidential residence and the thousands of venues located throughout the world which are visited by those we protect. the men and women of the u.s. secret service work 24 hours a day, seven days a week every day of the year. they are sacrificing commitment make us the agency the american people can be proud of and depend on. as a special agent, i am confident in our men and women and in our ability to successfully execute our mission. chairman thompson, ranking member king and members of the committee, i am willing to answer questions at this time.
however, any questions regarding security procedures need to be discussed in a closed setting. additionally i would like to respectfully advise this committee due to the fact this is on going investigation on am unable to answer any question regarding the potential criminal aspect of this incident here or in a closed setting. thank you. >> thank you very much, director sullivan, for your testimony. i will remind each member that he or she will have five minutes to question mr. sullivan. i recognize myself for the beginning question. director sullivan, let me be clear all of us support the men and women of secret service. there's no question about it. our oversight responsibility though is when situations occur we have to look again and do our
job and it is in that pursuit of doing our job this hearing is being held today. in addition to that, there are a couple of questions i would like to get on the record. who is responsible for security at the white house? >> u.s. secret service is responsible for that security, mr. chairman. >> who is responsible for access control? >> we are, sir. >> how many checkpoints are we normally manning from access control at the white house at any point at the state dinner? for this particular event, we had three vehicle checkpoints and we had to pedestrian checkpoints. >> at each checkpoint did those
individuals have lists of the guests that would be in attendance? >> yes they did, mr. chairman. >> the two individuals in question, the salahi's, were they on those lists? >> they were not. >> and it's your testimony before us today that they should not have been allowed entrance to this event because they were not on the list. >> that is correct. >> just for the record if an individual was not on a list what is the procedure? >> the procedure would be that there should not be allowed entry at that point. for this particular event the protocol would be that that officer should contact their immediate supervisor. the supervisor would get together with an individual from the white house staff.
they would be determined if in fact that individuals plus court to come and additionally. we would call over to a were control center to see if these names had been provided for clearance. >> did any of this occurred the evening in question? >> i did not. >> have you identified all of the personnel who would have been responsible for this not occurring? >> right now that is ongoing. we have identified three individuals right now. we continue to investigate. we have done -- since this occurred we have done numerous interviews and we continue to go back and we interviewed people but right now we have three individuals we have identified but i am not sure if the above change enough. right now one thing -- one checkpoint this did occur. >> so they were not on the list.
have you determine how an individual not on the list could gain entrance to this event >> i have, sir. >> is that something you are comfortable sharing in this setting? >> i would be happy too. we have established particles that were not followed. what we find is that of the protocols are followed we won't run into this type of situation. clearly this protocol was not followed. eight mistake was made an error in judgment and that allowed the two individuals who should not have been allowed entry into the white house. >> can you tell us whether or not other individuals may have gained entry into the white house in a similar manner this evening? >> that was a concern on my part as well and i can tell you that our investigation indicates no other individuals were allowed entry that evening that shouldn't have been allowed to
come in. >> one question, because these individuals were not on the list, they did not get vetted or anything like that. do you think that this monitoring provided any risks to those individuals who attended the dinner? >> like everyone i am extremely disappointed that these people were able to enter the white house. however i would say these people went through every layer of security every other individual went through going into that building and again i would be more than happy to talk about what those levels of security are in a closed briefing. but i would say from a risk perspective i felt confident based on what i've heard and based on what i've seen and have been briefed on that they did not provide a risk to the president.
>> so you are comfortable in making that statement? >> i am comfortable making that statement, sir. >> thank you. i yield to the ranking member. >> thank you. meister director understanding the salahi's when they went to the first checkpoint and their name was on the list -- >> i'm sorry we? >> my understanding is that when the salahi's came to the first checkpoint in the name was on the list and they told they should be on the list and had been invited and they talked themselves through. is that a fair analysis? or is that part of the investigation? >> as part of the investigation. but i will tell you is these individuals did show up at the list representing themselves to be on the list. our officer looked at the guest list, did mossy their names and
allow them to proceed to the next checkpoint to have their names checked. >> i've seen this personally myself certainly at times people who should be on the list are not and when they say they are on the list, should be on the list and are not somebody from the social secretary office is there, the secret service agent and is the guest over to the social secretary and gets back to processing those next on the line. is that the way that it's been done in the past? >> for every eve and we have at the white house we have a meeting with the white house staff and we did have a planning meeting for this particular visit. during that planning meeting we all agree with our predetermined responsibility will be for that particular defense. in this meeting be agreed at that particular checkpoint we would take control of the list. >> you were at any other even to the white house certainly one of the significance where there was no one from the social secretaries office there with
the secret service? >> i've asked our people to go back and look at that and we have seen other eve ensler that has occurred. it doesn't happen often but we have seen other eve ensler that does in fact occur. >> do you know if it's happened at any previous state dinner? >> i do not know that i can get back to you on that. >> a hypothetical. if when they come back to the checkpoint and they said we are on the list, secret service agent says you're not. if there had been somebody from the social secretaries office would the agent have referred them to the social secretary's office and continued to process those online? >> i believe what they would have done is work the issue to gather. i don't think the officer would have to adjust dismissed it to that particular person. i would think -- >> i don't mean dismiss it, but wait to see the social secretaries of us can find and then come back to the secret service agent rather than secret service agent stop processing everyone in line and just deal
with this individual or these individuals. >> i think that is one of the things we talked about an hour after action review as we talked with white house staff i believe we both recognize there is the need to have somebody there from the white house and that's why as we saw yesterday new guidelines were put out for all of these events in the future without exception there will be somebody there from the white house staff. >> want those guidelines be similar to almost everything done before? of their than last week? >> again, mr. king, many of the events we've done the past nine or ten months there have been people from the white house staff at this checkpoint. for this particular event prior to this event we agreed we would control and there would be somebody from white house staff -- >> my time is starting to run. who initiated that? did you ask the sexual secretary's office not to be
there or did they ask not to be there? >> i just know that is what the result of the meeting was. >> isn't unusual for all fees' evin -- i think i've been to over 40 of them and my colleagues a similar amount whether christmas parties or produce an occasional steak dinner we always see somebody whether it is the social secretary's office, the president's staff, legislative affairs always someone with secret service and it's interesting to me for this event, the most important of the year where there's a prime minister from the country that was attacked by terrorists last year at this event with a larger crowd expected the social secretaries office left and secret service was there by itself thank you for accepting responsibility but the only way we can find out is to who initiated this change and with the procedure will be in the future and why it was on this way. we can't do this unless we have someone from the white house having the guts to come down and testify instead of hiding behind
a separation of power. >> the only other thing i would say a store in the meeting it was agreed upon there would be people from the white house staff available in a row and capacity and i take responsibility for the fact we did have that available to us. that is what should have been -- those people should have been stopped and we should have called for someone to come and help expedite. >> if there had been someone next to the agent is wouldn't have happened. if somebody from the social secretary's office were standing where they stood in the past they wouldn't have gotten man. >> it would have helped. >> thank you very much. for the record again, no one would have been allowed in that even if they had not been affected; and i correct? >> that's correct, mr. chairman. >> whether the talks to the social secretary or whomever. >> mr. jeneane if you yelled a
moment -- >> no -- i deferred to your questions. >> mr. chairman? >> just -- >> i'm sorry, mr. chairman. i was going to say there have been occasions where people have shown up that have not been affected where we will have conversation with white house staff and those people have been allowed to enter. it's very rare but on occasion people have come and of both white house staff and we agree, and this is not just this administration but other administrations if we feel there is a need for those individuals to be let through that have not been fitted and we and staff are both in agreement those people will be allowed in but again -- that's to answer your question, not what happened here. >> the gentle lady from california for five minutes, ms. sanchez. >> thank you, mr. chairman and
mr. sullivan for being here today. first let me begin by saying i think the secret service does a great job and it saddens me to see that there was such a lapse this time at the white house in the past i know there's always been close communication between the social secretary for the white house, legislative -- legislative affairs for example if we are going to have congress people come for the christmas party, and every single time that i have entered the white house there has always been somebody from the presidents -- from the white house at the very first point before you ever even get to the checkpoint where they check your purses, etc.. every time even if it's just been a meeting with the president over a particular policy there has always been somebody out there. my question -- the first
question is in this pre-planning meeting did you all decide no one would be specifically assigned from the social secretary's office or legislative affairs or what have you at the first checkpoint? was that a decision made? because i heard you say there were going to be roving people but was there a definite decision that nobody would be standing next to the secret service as people made entry or attempt to come to the event? >> my understanding, congresswoman, is there was agreement at the initial checkpoint we would have that list on our own and that if any discrepancy did come up that person was to call for their supervisor and a day in fact would get in contact with somebody from the staff who was around the main entrance point
in the east wing and they would be available to help out. >> so your feeling is that your first secret service agent who was standing there with the list and realized the couple in question wasn't on there that in fact their purpose was then to call over somebody from the white house and confirm what to do with that person. >> correct. everyday we have people shop at various gates at the white house -- >> are they supposed to be there? >> -- they say they want to come in and everyday people make appropriate phone calls and contact to see if maybe we have missed something on our list and if in fact these people are expected to arrive. and i look at this no different for me this began and ended at the checkpoint it was a simple protocol, simple procedure that of some became of that wasn't on
the list and made contact with somebody that come and help you expedite the individual or determine if in fact they should be turned away to read >> that's why you surprises me because every time i've been to the white house and i've had a guest who has been vetted ahead of time with social security and everything else we need to supply and showing id there's still times we are satisfied and say we we don't have your guest on the list let's talk about this. but it has always come in conjunction with somebody from the white house. so why in this particular instance, because i have never seen this instance before and it's been under three presidents i've been going to the white house, democrats and republicans, that i have never just seen a secret service agent in particular with such important process, with so many important people waiting in line to get through.
why would you all agree that no person from the white house would be standing there first of all to greet guests, which is one of the most important things the social secretary should be doing at that point. but at the same time if there were problems to immediately take care of them and start some chain to figure out why is this person each year. why ahead of time -- i've never seen this happen before. why would you agree to that? >> i acknowledge that is rare. i haven't seen that happen myself all that often and i do believe the statement or the memorandum put out by the white house yesterday i believe they recognize that as well and that they stated in the memorandum were they to work as partners to make sure we get everybody in who should get in and prevent people, and i do believe that
because of this particular issue last week there is recognition by all of us that that is the way things should be done and i think going forward, i know going forward that is the way things are going to be done. >> thank you for taking responsibility but i think as a lot of responsibility that should be spread out on this. thank you, mr. sullivan. >> gentleman from indiana for five minutes, mr. souter. >> thank you. mr. sullivan, you have used the check point repeatedly. for their points or two or one that had a list? >> there were too. >> so it wasn't a point, it was checkpoints that failed. >> yes, sir. >> and the list you are referring to, was the list provided by the social secretary or is this a list that has been social security numbers vetted, they're has been background checks on the individuals that might have turned up some of the questionable things in the
couple's background and who they were associated with was a social secretary list to we invite or was it a vetted list? >> i believe i have this right and if i don't we will correct it but what happens before the event whitehouse staff will give a list of the people that have been inflated and we will take that list and they will provide name and date of birth and social security number. we will then do the appropriate record checks for those individuals. if anything does come up that would lead us to believe somebody should not be led into the white house we would get back to the white house staff on that. once that -- once all that is done we will get back to the white house staff and they will give back a complete list of who is currently attending the event. >> so for the social service office or anyone from the white house, any influential individual to walk up and say this individual should be
allowed in. you said you think it's been done in the past without vetting or they would have to say this individual has been vetted before? >> i would say that would be very rare occasion. i would say perhaps it was a member from the hill or some other individual who is a family friend this would have to be somebody known to them and we would talk through it and allow them into the white house but again that would be when all levels are comfortable and we were -- we know who we are dealing with. that is a very rare occurrence. >> the salahi's have been flashing all for the national media. e-mails suggest there could have been potential mistake showing that they had had exchanges and asked to be at the list, they were supposed to be called back but then they claim they brought on and hadn't heard. did the show those e-mails the whole country knows exist now? >> that gets into the elements
of the criminal investigation. again, i cannot, based upon information in conversation with the u.s. attorney's office i would prefer not to talk about that. >> one of my concerns, because this feels like deja vu all over again. when i was first elected congress and we came in i was elected in '94, we came in and the government for more oversight committee. we start a round of investigations in '95, '96 about white house clearance and the question was morris and the thompsons were not on the list yet there were coming to the white house regularly. that led to a question of having clearance lists with dead people on it with people who shouldn't have been on the list who was holding the lists. that led to questions of the coating was and that is how we sent to the cofounder will be met lincoln bedroom. we've been through this before with secret service and we asked this to be clarified and fixed
and the question was in the looking at a casual visit of individuals and slip up on the list it led to a fundamental question about how and when these lists are changed because you said they went through all the checks and there was no danger to the president or the press minister of india. there's no danger why did he do background checks? that's a fundamental question because casual visitors from indiana to see the white house christmas tree are subject to back rent checks. you just said here that it didn't matter really that it didn't do the back route check because it had been vetted so many points and there was no danger to the president. was there a danger to the president or not and is their danger because you have all these different points to see they don't have a gun if they don't have these points we do do that every visitor to see the white house christmas tree? >> circling you know, i, during background checks at one level of security. and just because we do a
background check on somebody and it comes back they have no record to me that does not mean that there is no danger. >> why question is you said that there was no danger to the president because they went through all of these things to show that they basically didn't pose a threat; is that correct? was there a threat to the president or not a threat? >> we have countermeasures in place and i'm confident telling you there was no threat to the president. last week we took him to a basketball game with 500,000 people and he was surrounded by those people. >> so why -- i understand that. but why do you then run a background check on every individual that is coming when they are not going to see the president or get their picture taken with the president, they are not going to see all these other people in 81 on one type of thing why do you run less of the back rent check on individuals and you would on a casual visitor because you said sometimes it's waived. you said there's no danger the
presumption is you're doing a good background check because of danger. >> what i have liked to have stopped those people look at checkpoint i would have to read deriding those people should have been naim checked? i do. but does that mean that there was a danger to the president because two people came who were not named checked? i don't believe it does. i do believe levels of security, i believe we keep agents in close proximity to those people we protect. if we fought during a name check was coming to secure his safety we wouldn't have any more security in the white house and tell all of our people they could stand down. we know with all due respect to those 400 people that came to the white house last week we continue to look at those people even though they've gone through name checks and no matter with those people were and our agents when people walking up to a photo shoot we are looking at that approach, looking to the body language, their gesture, looking at any type of action.
we don't rely on any one level security. we look at multiple layers of security and again i happy to talk to you about that in a closed setting. but we do background checks. >> the gentleman's time is expired. gentle lady from california for five minutes. -- before, mr. chairman. mr. sullivan i applaud you for taking responsibility for this incident. it's not an easy thing to do but you haven't flinched and you are right as to the could use it, quote, we can't afford even one mistake. as you can see everyone on this committee on a bipartisan basis views this as a security issue hopefully none of us care if us weeklies covering it. we care whether the life of the president and high-level officials from our country and for india and others were protected at last week's event and we care very much